The identity of Atticus C.

I think about work too much. I’m never content when things are going perfectly well. I’m restless. I’m always looking for the next thing. I can’t stop taking on projects. I don’t enjoy the little things enough, but I try to remind myself to do so.

Sometimes my personality is too strong. Sometimes I’m a dick and an egomaniac. I try not to be, but it comes off that way anyway. I’m hard on people I love. I’m not sensitive enough, on average. I try to remember to say thank you. I try to show appreciation. I have to remind myself to do these things.

I’m too cynical. I can’t accept anything for face value. I can’t accept religion. I have trouble with spirituality even though I think it’s healthy. I like philosophy, but it always seems to turn into an argument. I’m attracted to spirituality, but I can’t accept it. I want it, but don’t know where to look. Organized religion feels like a scam, but I want the community.

It turns out family is more important to me than I ever expected. Also, friendship. I enjoy my few, but very close relationships. I should try to have a relationship with my parents. Maybe I shouldn’t. They are poisonous. I should try to have a deeper relationship with my parents-in-law. They are good people.

Speaking of friendship. I would like to spend more time in an intimate/cerebral way with friends. Maybe combine spirituality and learning. I have smart friends who can challenge me. I would like to combine the two components of my life.

I want adventure. I want to relax. Sometimes I want to visit old towns in Central America or Europe. Other times I just want to be isolated in the mountains of North Georgia. Either way I’m pretty happy at a cafe with good coffee. I like to write – especially when the location is nice.

I want challenge and prestige, but stability. I want to know that I can take care of my family, but I want the excitement of new things and constant learning. I want the flexibility to work to live or live to work. I want my career to be a big part of my identity, but not my identity exclusively.

I want to be happy, but sometimes I don’t know what that is. Sometimes I think happiness is something you can define on paper, other times I think it’s just a state of mind. Maybe both. I’m a planner, but I’ve been told to take things one day at a time. Maybe both are right. Maybe neither.

Hello again my old friend.

I took some time off from blogging. I’ve still been writing – just in a hand-written journal instead of here. I just felt like putting pen to paper for a while. For whatever reason it just felt right. Something about sitting there with a notebook writing things down feels good. It felt more intimate. Less like I was trying to write for the world and more like I was writing for myself.

It’s like in science when the mere act of observation changes the outcome of an experiment. In this  case knowing people might read my blog posts made me try too hard. I felt like I needed to post content more regularly. Mind my prose. And be entertaining. I started to lose my voice. The one I hear inside my head when I’m thinking about all of this stuff. Me.

I still want to blog. I even considered starting another blog all together. But we’ve been through too much together here. Five years! I want to stay, but kick things off right going forward. Face it – this is a personal blog and that’s the way it’s going to stay. What I write about here interests no one except myself and that’s okay.

Where do we go from here? 

I want to blog once a week. Not on any particular schedule, but just when I can. i want to write because I enjoy it. Because I enjoy sitting in my office or at a little coffee shop writing about nothing in particular. I think it’s healthy.

An though I say “no schedule” I’m a scheduler at heart. I thrive on tasks and lists. So maybe I’ll try to make every Wednesday morning a writing session before work. Head over to the coffee shop and write for a couple hours? I like that idea.

I don’t want to commit to any particular topic(s). Most of what I write will probably be about me. Probably complaining about trying to figure out the meaning of life – or something similar. Maybe I’ll talk about economics, philosophy, politics, or business. Who knows?

Anyway, I’m back.

Phil, Jon, or Holden. You guys are the only people I really keep up with on the web. Stop by and say hello. I hope this becomes more conversational going forward.

Thoughts on Planned Parenthood and Late Term Abortions

I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who have late term abortions are not doing so due to medical issues. It is one thing for a woman to find out that giving birth may kill her, or that the child has issues and will go on to live a seriously limited life marked by never ending medical care, discomfort and pain.

But for a woman to decide she isn’t going to have the baby at a point that it is viable, simply because she changed her mind for whatever the reason may be- is murder.

I argue it is murder because that is how to law would see it if another person caused the end of the life. For example, say a pregnant woman is in her third trimester of the pregnancy visits a corner convenience store. A man walks in with a knife demanding all the cash in the register and her purse.

In the heat of the moment, the man loses his cool and stabs the woman in the stomach, killing the unborn “fetus.”  I believe this man would be charged with murder, would he not?

After all, this “fetus” probably had a name, the parents already knew the gender, and there was a room with a crib and rocking chair waiting on it.

So, is it not murder when the mother and a doctor decide to consciously end the life? Is there any difference?

I discovered recently that fervent defenders of a abortion will justify the act no matter how grotesque the current acts uncovered by Planned Parenthood and the medical practitioners working with them in fact are. I see them no less callous and inhuman as a firearms advocate group who may hold a rally in a neighborhood after a school shooting.

It is the same mindset. Just different interest groups.

Those who are quick to defend Planned Parenthood’s avocation of selling aborted baby body parts also like to point out how altruistic the practice is. We are helping researchers cure terrible diseases after all.

Maybe so, but last I looked, the person donating their body to science was supposed to agree to it before it being done. In the case of unborn children, they never had a say in the matter.

And to take the argument a notch further, the Third Reich also experimented on people, which helped advance medical science leaps and bounds. That doesn’t made what they did any more excusable or less disgusting.

I am not an abortion abolitionist. I understand that no two situations are the same. I understand there is an element of personal freedom involved. I also understand an outright prohibition would lead to far more dangerous, backroom procedures being performed for those desperate enough to seek them out.

But what Planned Parenthood and the doctors performing late term abortions and selling the body profits for cash are doing is wrong. It is incomprehensible. And the fact that most of these facilities exist in poor black neighborhoods also potentially makes it racist and a quiet form of eugenics.

If you find yourself one of these people, I challenge you to put the shoe on the other foot and think of how you feel about extreme guns advocates who show up in the neighborhoods after school shootings. I’d argue the recent acts of Planned Parenthood and the doctors who perform late terms abortions are much more grim and sinister.

-Holden

I Passed on a $50,000 Raise

I am proud of myself this morning. Proud because I feel like I am slowly becoming the man I aspired to be. A man who, when given the opportunity, will choose happiness, family, friends, and knowledge before money or the accumulation of more stuff. I believe this about myself because I turned down a new job, and a $50,000 raise, for these values.

The job would have made me the youngest person in such a position (that I know of), padding my bank account and my resume, but would have meant a lot of time away from my family and friends, giving up a few personal dreams (such as starting my own business and pursuing further education), and doing something I’m not very passionate about. I’ve never had to give up such a huge opportunity or such a large sum of money. I’m happy that when the time came I had the courage and discipline to do so.

I didn’t do it alone, either. I had people to speak candidly with. Friends and family who earnestly supported me and walked through the pros and cons of each opportunity. They probably didn’t know it, but their willingness and enthusiasm helped to show me just what I would be giving up. Just how great a community I would be giving up for a little prestige and money.

I didn’t give up long walks with my family every evening, I didn’t give up the international travel and leadership opportunities my current job provides, I didn’t give up my dream of launching my own start-up, I didn’t give up morning coffee talks with Holden, I didn’t give up spontaneous cocktail dinners with neighbors, and I didn’t give up my dream of higher education (in fact I start an MBA program next school year!).

When I read that last paragraph I realize just how easy a decision the whole thing was – even if it didn’t seem like it at the time. Perspective.

Land Lordin…

I am a land lord, but not really by choice. I bought a little house a year out of college at the height of the housing bubble (around 2007) at a steep price, then six months later, watched as its value plummeted to about a fourth of what I paid.

Now, 8 years later, the little old house in northwest Georgia sits at about 6/10th of the value I paid for it.

At the end of this month, I lose my golden tenants who I’ve had for most of the last two years and so the hunt begins for new ones. Oh joy…

You learn a lot of very valuable life lessons and sharpen quite a few business skills as a land lord. You learn to start recognizing interesting little social clues and personality traits that might tip you off as to whether a person is a potentially good or bad tenant.

You also learn to manage risk, or even more importantly, to become more comfortable with risk. You start weighing pros and cons, making judgement calls and even learning when to trust or not trust your gut.

But most of all, you learn to just be patient with both people and the process as a whole.

Being a land lord who actually CARES is tough. I work so very hard to show compassion, to do a great job for my tenants and feel like I’m really providing them with just as much value, if not more, in return for them basically paying for my house that I no longer care to live in but cannot sell.

And I never forget that if I can work this all out, I’ll own a house free in clear by the time I am in my mid-40s. A house I could live in if times got tough. A nice supplement to my retirement… or hell, my retirement home someday!

But alas, being a land lord is not for the faint of heart. I have been lied to, stood up, cleaned up messes that are not mine and dealt with crap neighbors (and the city code enforcement officers by extension). I am happy to have had the experience though.

I am starting to truly understand how to get down to business while retaining my compassion and humanity. And this is a mix that I feel is becoming rarer all the time in our society.

Please wish me luck, soon enough I’ll have to select that lucky person (or hopefully a small family) to sign a lease with, and start all over again on the rollercoaster or land lordin…

-Holden

Identity Crisis

Sometimes I have a lot of difficulty defining myself.

Am I just a corporate slave? Another drone in the white collar, paper pushing workforce?

Am I just another average 30 something year old dude with a wife, two kids and a few cars in the garage?

It seems like I’m not doing a lot of the things I like most. I’m not really doing the things I love, all that often anymore.

I’ve taken on way too many expenses. My wife and I have build a beautiful family, we have nice things and possessions, great careers and positive prospects to just keep on moving up but we have enslaved ourselves.

Then I step back and start to feel like I’m bellyaching. I feel like I’m a brat.

The more I move forward in life, the more I realize I don’t care for most the people I encounter.

Where is the love of music and art? Where is the desire to travel or experience other cultures? Where does the worship of retail, new cars and shiny trinkets end?

I feel like my life is turning into a poor imitation of a top 40 radio station. The same dozen songs playing over and over, the over enthusiastic DJ and the endless commercials urging me to buy something else I really don’t fucking need.

This is so mundane. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Because it is comfortable and easy.

 -Holden

 

Thoughts on Ego and Self Improvement

I haven’t written anything here for a while. Mostly because I have been trying to take a more introspective approach to “journaling” by keeping a hand written notepad in my office.

Writing for yourself as opposed to an “audience” is quite different and in many ways, for me at least, more sentimental and casual. Physically writing things down seems more permanent – forces me to take my time – slow my mind.

Still – writing things down in any form is valuable. For example, flipping through the pages of my journal there are a few topics that come up again and again. Call it self-data-analytics.

1. Self improvement
2. Ego

For me these two topics are closely related in that they directly affect one’s ability to find and maintain happiness.

Take self improvement for example – Most of my entries on self improvement involve developing a greater understanding of fulfillment and “enjoying the mundane”. I try to focus on optimizing simple tasks like enjoying a cup of coffee, a long walk, or cooking dinner. Things I would have (and still do, most times) rushed though given my natural personality.

The entries about ego discuss how too much ego can lead to suffering. For myself, I’ve come to realize how my selfish ambition has the tendency to result in long working hours and stress. The consequences, left unchecked, cause more harm that help.

Sometimes I consider sharing these thoughts on this blog instead of my little diary, but it almost feels like a perversion of the points I’m trying to make. How can an amateur talk about ego on a public blog like people are expected to read and consider the writing with any level of seriousness? Seems egotistical and simultaneously oxymoronic (is that a word?).

I don’t want the undeveloped ideas I’m working through to come across as something other people should implement in their own lives – or even consider at all –  I don’t know that they should. On the other hand – maybe others are working through these same things and can offer valuable insight?

For now most of my thoughts will be relegated to the pages of my personal journal.